The Monday Morning Teaser

Politically, the big event that happened this week was the State of the Union address. It was a uniquely Biden performance. Obama’s speeches were nearly always works of art: soaring oratory, full of idealism and inspiration, delivered with perfect timing and phrasing. Trump’s speeches were snake-oil pitches, designed to exhaust the fact-checkers to the point that many falsehoods went unanswered. And he always spoke only to his half of the country while doing his best to troll the other half.

Biden doesn’t have the skill to take either approach. His lifelong struggle not to stutter means that a long speech is something to get through rather than an opportunity to shine. His brand is bipartisan unity, not demonization of the Other, so he can’t rabble-rouse. And yet, Tuesday’s speech arguably accomplished more than any SOTU in my lifetime. It was not brilliantly delivered, but it was brilliantly conceived. Biden pulled off a masterful bit of strategy (which is why this week’s quote is from Sun Tzu).

The featured post examines the speech in detail. It should post maybe around 10 EST.

The weekly summary also covers the first hearings of Kevin McCarthy’s House, which did not go as planned. It turns out that (unlike when Republicans appear on Fox News) House hearings also include Democrats, some of whom are quite clever — and do enough homework to notice when the facts are on their side. In contrast to my usual summaries, this one will include a detailed example of the kind of headline you should not pay attention to. Then there are the UFOs the Air Force keeps shooting down, Mike Pence getting a subpoena from the special counsel, and a few other things. That should be out a little after noon

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